The Studeblogger

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

New Wheels for Old Studebakers

Here's a topic that keeps coming up, so I thought I'd jot down what I know for others looking for this information: what new wheels will fit Studebaker cars?

First, wheels from other makes will fit Studebakers. Stock 5" Stude wheels have a 4.25" backspace, and OEM Ford & Mopar wheels with 4" backspace work just fine on a Stude.

  • Using a 15x 6" wheel with a 4" back space, such as those found on 85-89ish Ford LTDs, Mercury Marquis or Ford Crown Vics will work.
  • Rear-wheel-drive Chrysler Fifth Avenue or variants from Dodge or Plymouth - Diplomats, Furys, etc. will also work.

You can usually pick these up for a song from nearly any auto recycler, although they will certainly need refinishing before you bolt them on.

This one will work.

However, be aware that no currently produced wheel will hold Studebaker factory dog-dish hubcaps, which require a specifically-shaped inner hub to grip the caps. So if you're looking to put factory correct "poverty" caps back on your Stude, you'll need to source factory wheels. 

Wheel Vintiques were my choice for Barney.

For my car, I chose Wheel Vintiques Mopar 15 x 6" reproductions; they come in satin black and fit like a glove. I went to the junkyard and found a wheel off of an old Fury to test-fit, then went ahead and ordered new ones from Vintiques online. 

As I said earlier, these will not hold OEM Studebaker hubcaps, so you'll have to use something else or figure out a way to hold your Stude caps on (the problem is that the full-cover caps will snap on, but will then rotate as you drive, cutting the valve stems).

Since I'm not worried about originality, I finished mine off with vintage '70s Mopar police hubcaps, which are identical to the standard dog-dishes Mopar shipped on millions of Furies, Darts and Valiants, but with a ring of vents that helped in cooling the drum brakes on those big '70s cars. I think they turned out pretty good!

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